When you hear about legend in the auto business.
You always hear about F-150 and Camry and Accord.
But there's another one that I'm going point out to you.
And I'm in it right now.
It's the rockstar of a category full of rockstars.
But it just got a facelift.
Let's find out what they did when they tampered with success.
As we drive the '15 CRV touring all-wheel-drive.
And check the deck.
So far in 2015 the CRV is running comfortably ahead of a very tough field, like the hard to beat RAV4 that invented the category, Nissan's resurgent Rogue, and the ever-popular Ford Escape.
Now as you can see, to be sure they didn't do major surgery on this latest CRV, but enough to make it spottable.
Take a look at the front face, it no longer has these kinda fussy three chrome bars of the outgoing model.
Now it looks more like a Civic and it's a little more aggressive or sporty looking.
Out back they got rid of this kinda goofy smile like feature line, straightened it out.
In general the car looks a little more macho, a little more impressive.
Now inside The CRV one of the first things you'll notice is a new set of head units that are the big seven inch touch screen type.
This is the high end one in this vehicle.
I've never been a fan of Honda navigation, as you know.
It's a clunky interface, it's kind of poorly rendered.
Since Honda locks out lots of inputs while the car is moving and has no control on the hand writing pad, you better love their voice rec.
I often don't.
Go to nearest Chinese restaurant.
No command was heard.
Basically, they can't put any bins in this car that hold razor blades, cyanide, or a gun because you'd use one or all three after
After you try to figure out what mode you can be in to issue what voice command.
Luckily, you've now got a new option, at least on your IOS device.
For 60 bucks you can download and install this Honda link navigation app.
Which is cloud connected.
You can enter addresses via voice here in one phrase.
It's fundamentally better than this.
You've also got another ha app in here that runs from the phone, shows up on the dash, as does the Nav.
Now to get what's on the phone on the dash, you need to get a one hundred dollar cable kit that they sell, which is a combination of USB and HDMI Run your iOS device, no Android yet, to get that on the screen.
That is a hoarsely expensive mess.
Above here is what they call their MID, their multi-information display.
This button on the wheel takes you through a few helper screens that'll ask you to split things up, put entertainment away up there while you focus on nav down here.
It's a common scenario.
When it comes to your media sources, you've go the usual plus nice touches include Pandora integrated here, HD Radio.
You now have two USB ports here in the console.
Now beyond infotainment, your drive controls in this vehicle are going to be a one choice only CVT gear box.
And, you've got a sport mode here as a gear position, not as an overall power train modifier.
There's no sport button for example.
Beyond that, all of this is nestled in one of the nicer looking cabins in its class.
This is a mature, quality feel, for not much money.
All right, if you thought Mazda Sky Active was a stupid name for an engine.
Try Earth Dreams.
What does that mean?
Well it means different things in different Honda Engines.
In this one it means they have introduced direct injection and reduced the friction of the internal moving parts.
The results were good, 184 Horse Power same as last year but it comes at lower rpm And 181 pound feet of torque.
That's 11% better than last year, while the MPG went up four city and up three highway.
That means 26 city, 33 highway through this all wheel drive power train with now a CVT continuously variable transmission that's also new in this year's CRV.
Now, CRV is not a high performance vehicle.
Power though is adequate.
I don't have any problem with it and clearly that additional torque and lower RPM ceiling for max horse power, are helping.
And, an awful lot of a, kind of a, crappy engine note coming through the engine bay, even though they supposedly put a lot more sound insulation in.
They could add some more.
To go along with our rather grating engine sound coming in as a rather grating ride quality.
And it's been improved, they tell me.
From the last generation, but it could use some more.
It's a nervous ride that can be fatiguing.
You feel every crack in the pavement, unless the pavement is really nice.
This transmission is CBT, I get a lot of these knocks.
This is a real nice one.
I didn't even know it was a CDT when I first drove the car.
I always drive these cars knowing nothing about them to try and feel them without preconception.
I thought this had standard automatic which is high praise for a CDT.
No paddles or any other nonsense that I showed you earlier.
It's a straightforward drive train.
There's also no settings for the all wheel drive.
Just there and it's working.
Now all new in the CRV this time around, are driver assist technologies.
Like lane keep warning and active lane keep assist.
You hit a button right here on the right side of the wheel and this guy is going to steer itself on the lane lines.
And it's actually really aggressive.
In fact it's kind of eerie to be driving the car and feel how How hard it's pushing the wheel when it wants to keep you in the middle of the lane.
The various adaptive drive technologies at a patchwork of speeds.
Lane Keep tech works from 45 to 90 MPH, forward collision break up to about 62 MPH, and adaptive cruise only above 22 MPH.
So, it can't handle a really congested freeway mess.
Still this is a lot of pseudo self-driving tech for an inexpensive little compact crossover.
And one of the most useful driver assist technologies is this one.
I hit the right signal and there's a camera over there on the right hand mirror that gives me this excellent view on the dash.
To see if I am about to cut off someone like a cyclist over there or whatever is on my right side.
That's one of the best visual technologies in a car today.
I don't know why no one else does it, unless you guys have it tied up with a patent.
RCRV is a Touring model, so it's just about got all the bells and whistles included base.
That's about thirty-two, five.
If you want all-wheel drive, it's about twelve-fifty more.
For a couple of dealer installed options, you might want remote start and some rear sonar's to augment your rear camera.
All in, we're looking about thirty-four, seven is about as high As hard as you can push one of these.
Overall as you can see Honda has not changed the mission or the role of the CR-V.
They just made it nicer all around.
Under the hood you're getting better power and more MPG.
Inside the cabin a better attempt at cabin tech though it's still a work in progress.
And the adaptive driver assist tech is all new in this vehicle.
If you liked the CRV before there's more to like about it now.
It's basically grown-up marketed.
More realities of modern driving revealed now at CNETOnCars.com.
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